DES MOINES, Iowa — Drake University continues to deal with a series of racially motivated incidents on campus. It started earlier this month when an anonymous note was slipped under the door a black student’s dorm room. That student is now speaking out for the first time with Channel 13 News.
After a nearly three-week mental heath hiatus, freshman Keith Walker is back on campus and still at a loss for words.
“I’m still trying to process it. It’s a lot.”
Walker is from Texas and chose to come to Drake because he felt safe here. Now he fears going to class.
“It takes a lot for me to get up and go to class because the feeling of not knowing. It’s so bad,” he says.
The university is still working to find the person or people responsible for the note which contained several racial slurs asking for Walker to leave campus because of the color of his skin. However, Walker says he doesn’t plan on leaving campus anytime soon. Instead he’s choosing to speak out against the racism loud and clear.
“I have too,” he says. “I have to speak out because the silence is the reason for all of this.”
The acts and rallies against hate following days of racial tension on campus proved to be healing for Walker but admits some of it felt cosmetic. The theater major is now calling for everyone to take center stage and get involved in culture groups on campus.
“I just want to wake people up and get people to understand that you a part of the change. You are a part of touching other people and getting them to wake up to see the world differently.”
As for the person looking to spread the hate. Walker says he has already forgiven them.
“I pray that they will see that we are not different. W are the same.” He adds, “You can’t really tell people how to feel. You can just show them what you believe and hope they believe it too.”
Walker says he has met with the university’s Dean of Students to come up with strategy to make students of color feel safer on campus and for ways to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. In statement, university president Marty Martin says:
“Drake University has and will continue to do everything possible to provide for our students’ safety, success, and mental welfare. The investigation of the racist events on campus is moving forward in collaboration with the Des Moines Police Department.”
The university stresses the investigation into the incidents is ongoing.